Pat Burns wife Line and son Jason speak on his behalf after being the newest member inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
The 2014 Hockey Hall of Fame induction class is one for the ages.
Dominik Hasek, Rob Blake, Peter Forsberg, and Mike Modano have been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame for their storied careers as players.
Hasek was a six-time Vezina Trophy winner and a two-time winner of the Hart Trophy as league MVP while with the Buffalo Sabres. He’s also been a member of two Stanley Cup winning teams in Detroit with the Red Wings in 2002 and 2008.
Blake played for 20 years with the Los Angeles Kings, Colorado Avalanche, and San Jose Sharks and won a Stanley Cup patrolling the blue line with the Avs in 2001. He scored 40 or more points in 12 seasons in the NHL and was a Hobey Baker Award finalist at Bowling Green.
Forsberg was as dominating a force as could be found in the NHL during his 14 seasons in the NHL. He was the Calder Trophy winner in 1995 and won two Stanley Cups with the Avalanche in 1996 and 2001. Originally a first-round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers, he’ll forever be linked with Eric Lindros as part of the monster trade that sent Lindros to Philly and the building blocks to Cup winners to the Quebec Nordiques. He won the Hart Trophy in 2003 and won two Olympic gold medals with Sweden in 1994 and 2006.
Modano was the face of the Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars franchise over 21 out of his 22 seasons in the NHL before finishing his career at home in Michigan with the Red Wings. In his career he piled up 561 goals and 1,374 points, the most ever by an American-born player. His crowning achievement came in 1999 winning the Stanley Cup with Dallas beating Hasek’s Sabres.
Also joining those four are longtime coach Pat Burns who was elected as a builder and referee Bill McCreary who was selected for his work as an official.
Burns was a three-time Jack Adams Award winner as coach of the year and won his lone Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils in 2003. He’s forever known as being the face of the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs during the 1980s and ’90s. He also led the Boston Bruins for four seasons in the late ’90s. Burns finished his career in 2004 with a career winning percentage of .574 but passed away in 2010 from cancer.
McCreary spent 27 years as a referee in the league working 1,700 regular season games and 282 playoff games. Known for his mustache and no-nonsense style, he earned the respect of everyone throughout the league and was often the man called on to officiate the biggest games. He also worked the 1998 and 2002 Olympics and earned the call to work the gold medal game in both tournaments.
USA Today’s Kevin Allen and CSNChicago’s Pat Foley are the 2014 Media Honorees. That group will be inducted on Monday, November 17 in Toronto.
Pat Burns’ family, friends and proponents will have to wait and see if he will be posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame, but they won’t have to wait to honor his memory. Pat Burns Arena officially opened today about 10 months after the three-time Jack Adams Award recipient lost his battle with cancer on Nov. 19, 2010.
Burns is the only coach in NHL history to win the Jack Adams win three different teams, as he earned that award with the Montreal Canadiens (1988-89), Toronto Maple Leafs (92-93) and Boston Bruins (97-98). Some might say that his greatest achievement came with the New Jersey Devils, however, as he won the Stanley Cup with that franchise in 2003.
CTV reports that hockey greats such as Henri Richard and Guy Carbonneau were on hand for the ceremony. Although memorabilia that was meant to help raise money for the event was stolen from the car of Burns’ widow Lyne, CTV reports that the Canadian and Quebec governments covered two-thirds of the costs while the City of Stanstead still managed to cover the rest.
Burns knew that he probably wouldn’t be alive to see the building open its doors, but expressed great joy in knowing that future hockey players would compete there.
“I probably won’t see the project to the end, but let’s hope I’m looking down on it and see a young Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux,” he said in March 2010.